Five days after his last letter, Halley is still in the Downs waiting for a favourable wind, but he has evidently used the time to find a larger vessel to accompany him through the dangerous waters off North-West Africa where pirates operate – you may remember Admiral Benbow escorted him during this passage to Madeira on his previous voyage.
(Halley to ?Burchett, dated 26 September 1699 from the “Downes”, National Archives ADM 1/1871)
Yesterday the wind coming up at NW most of the small craft weighd out of the Downs, and were followed [in the] afternoon by his Ma:ties Shipp the Winchester, but before Sunn sett the wind shifted to W and WSW, so that they were all taken short off of Folkston; A Guiney man of 30 Gunns having promisd to keep me company 800 Leagues, did not think fitt to weigh with so scant a wind, [so] I remaine here. This morning the wind is at SWbS, so if it blow fresh, we expect the return of those that sailed yesterday. I am ready to saile with the first wind, but belive that their Lopps are not willing to hazard the shipp to the Rovers of Barbary, by my going alone, before their ports with so small a force.
Your most obedt Servt